Behavioral Pharmacology: What it was, is, and might be. Marc N. Branch University of Florida. One of the enduring problems in drug therapeutics is variation in drug response. Both within and across subjects Especially prominent in psychiatry – “Try this”
Marc N. Branch
University of Florida
As rate-dependency’s reach was seen as ever more restricted, a void developed. If response-rate is not the “cause” of drug effects, what is? Because there were no obvious answers, the field moved in other directions.
One direction, which was consistent with the original emphasis on the role of behavioral factors in drug effects, was the study of tolerance to behavioral effects of drugs.
The other research directions, however, emphasized stimulus functions of drugs, specifically reinforcing and discriminative. A great deal of work focused on drug self-administration (drugs as reinforcers) and drug discrimination (drugs as SDs).
* % rats showing ≥ 80% choice of EtOH Lever
“By behavioral mechanism of drug action, we refer to a description of a drug's effect on a given behavioral system expressed in terms of some more general set of environmental principles regulating behavior.” (Thompson, 1981)